Goodaye all. I turned 60 on Friday, another day on the road, another day away from family and something, few others really care about, a truckies life. The public just want their goods available in a shop and or delivered, they do not consider how and when it gets there. That is the job I do, delivering the goods. Life has certainly changed in many ways. My Father worked for the Post Office and many in his day came back from the war and got a job and many worked on in, if not the same job, for the same employer for most of their lives. Our road transport industry really started after the war and I would highly recommend the book, “They Came Like Waves” by Jeffrey Ffrost as an introduction into those early years.
Years ago many truckdrivers came from trucking families and you went for a trip with your Dad, liked the life and carried on into the job. Now with both graduated licenses, insurance issues and the way most people want a job where they can have a family life, not being away living in a truck, getting people into trucking is harder than it has ever been. Many truckies will say to their kids, “If you go anywhere near a truck, I ‘ll kick you that hard you won’t land for a week” as they know how hard a job it can be on family.
So why do I do it you may fairly ask. I got involved when I left school and have been ever since. It has also become my hobby and yet that alone, does not explain that someone must be driving the trucks for all to survive. Even with online shopping, true you may not need to go to a store, but how will the products get to you? To be made they need ingredients going to a factory or to be made somewhere, they need to be distributed for sale and or delivery and true, that chain may be shrinking, but it is still there and without it, you will starve, have no clothes and no fuel for your car.
Trucks do truly deliver Australia. We have a large country and relatively small population and at one stage, we had 28 different rail gauges in Australia. Only a few years ago did we finally end up with a rail line to Darwin, we have nothing like the fast trains overseas and the rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane is certainly closer that ever before, but still a way off. Rail did have a bad reputation in the past and yet, it can do some jobs better that trucking can, like bulk commodities, but even if you want more general freight on rail, you still need trucks to get it to the rail, then to get it off the rail and then again to deliver it. Which is where trucks do things well.
Trucks carry over 75% of domestic freight, they do it well and yes, there are crashes involving trucks, but from where I sit, the biggest issue is that we do not teach young drivers to share the road with trucks. If the only education they get about trucks is what they learn from video games, will that give them sufficient knowledge to not only make them safe on the road, but make the road safer for truckies too?
I would welcome your thoughts on education about sharing the road with trucks. How and when should we do it? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.